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GP14 Riocard O'Tiarnaigh Challenge at Swords Sailing & Boating Club

by John McCaldin 1 May 2017 10:05 BST 29-30 April 2017

The Riocard O'Tiarnaigh Challenge 2017 was hosted by Swords SC on Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th April. 17 boats from as far north as Moville and south as Dungarvan, attended despite the challenging forecast which proved to be right.

All boats launched and race one was started on time. Conditions looked fine from shore but once on the race course it was a very different story and most competitors tested the water temperature at least once throughout the day.

Bronze, Silver and Gold fleets each sailed in separate flights with 4 boats in the bronze, 5 in silver and 8 in gold.

Race one was won by Sam Wray & Michael Broaders, Sligo YC, in the bronze fleet from Martin & Vicky Dews, Donahadee SC, Bill & James Johnson, Lough Foyle YC, in the silver and Shane McCarthy & Damian Bracken did a horizon job and showed the gold fleet a clean pair of heels. There was a lot of place changing with the McGuiness brothers eventually taking 2nd place and the McCaldins in 3rd.

Race two was quickly started although some competitors chose to head for the shore. No finishers in the bronze fleet, the Johnsons again dominated the silver fleet. In the gold fleet 3 of the top 4 boats capsized within 5 boat lengths of the weather mark, allowing Hugh Gill & Conor Twohig, Sutton DC, to take a clear race win with Keith Louden & Alan Thompson also staying upright to take 2nd. The McCaldins recovered from their swim to take 3rd.

After lunch ashore a depleted fleet reluctantly relaunched to find the conditions even more challenging on the race course. 3 short races were sailed.

Two 1sts in the bronze fleet saw Blessington SC's Matthew Street & Lee McMullan take a single point victory from Sam Wray & Michael Broaders.

One 1st and two 2nds saw the Johnsons take the silver fleet from Stephen & Peter Boyle, Sutton DC with Dungarvan SCs father and daughter team, Simon & Ella Crowe taking 3rd.

McCarthy & Bracken dominated the gold fleet with a further three 1sts showing great speed and boat handling in the gusty conditions. The McGuinness's secured 2nd place with three 2nds and the McCaldins 3rd with two 3rds and a 4th.

Sunday dawned as forecast with winds mid 30mph, the race officer wisely decided not to hold the finals.

Thanks to Swords SC for hosting the event. Next event on the circuit is Greystones SC on 27th & 28th May.

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